Cooked for dessert on Monday 7/5/2007
Sweet, rich, alcoholic, chocolatey and creamy, but a fiddly, time-consuming recipe. It took about an hour and a half of kitchen work plus an hour in the fridge. I'm unlikely to make it again unless I cheat and use a ready-made custard as the base instead of starting from scratch.
Cost: Pricey. I paid AU$16 for a bottle of Limoncello and about $14 for the other ingredients. Still, it does serve 8.
Getting the lemon zest. The lemon zest in the custard is a much milder flavour than the limoncello in the sponge fingers, so you can't even taste it. If I were to try this again, I'd leave the lemon zest out.
A herb cutter is great for chopping the chocolate quickly:
Egg yolks, sugar and flour. This leaves you with 9 egg whites to save for something else. I'm told that egg whites can be frozen in ice-cube trays and used later, so I am trying this for the first time.
Heating the milk, zest and vanilla. The recipe calls for a vanilla bean, but I'm a cheapskate and use imitation vanilla essense. The recipe says to bring "to a very brisk simmer, being careful not to let the milk boil". I don't know what this means to chefs, but to me, to be simmering, it has to be bubbling, and if it's bubbling, it is boiling. I turned the heat high and stirred the milk until the first bubbles appeared, then took it off the heat.
Meanwhile, whip the flour, sugar and egg yolks together until they look like this:
Gradually add the milk to the other mixture, and beat well. This was tricky with the heavy cooking pot I had used:
Return it to the stove-top and stir until it coats the back of the spoon. I was a little worried when mine seemed lumpy at this stage, but there was no sign of lumpiness in the finished product.
Cool one half in an ice-bath (I used my sink):
Beat the chocolate and cocoa powder into the other half, then cool that in the ice-bath, too.
Meanwhile, cut the sponge-fingers in half:
Sprinkle the limnocello over the sponge-fingers. I had trouble sprinkling it rather than pouring it, so I wasn't able to distribute it over all the sponge fingers. I ended up using twice as much limoncello as in the recipe to try to get complete coverage, which proved to be a mistake. Limoncello has a very strong flavour.
Layer the sponge, plain custard and chocolate custard into drinking glasses: